Disrupting Education’s Inequities

Maisha Winn and Torry Winn sit at table during interview.
Maisha Winn and Torry Winn, co-founders and co-directors of the Transformative Justice in Education Center in the School of Education, in the Strategic Communications’ studio, recording “Face to Face With Chancellor May.” (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

This month’s guests on Face to Face With Chancellor May are educators looking for ways to disrupt racial inequities in education.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

“We write together. We publish. And we're interested in ways we can improve our educational system,” Torry Winn, an assistant professor of teaching in education in the School of Education, said of his partnership with his collaborator and spouse, Maisha Winn, Chancellor's Leadership Professor in the School of Education.

Together they co-direct the school’s Transformative Justice in Education Center, which describes itself as “a community-university collaborative serving practitioners and researchers committed to disrupting racial inequities in education by creating restorative, humanizing, justice-seeking teaching and learning communities.”

They sat down for a conversation with Chancellor Gary S. May — available to watch today (Nov. 30) — about their work in Davis and in Sacramento, their passion for teaching, their new book and more.

They — along with Lorena Márquez, an assistant professor of Chicana/o Studies — were responsible for the first installment of Quarter at Aggie Square, a program in which undergraduate students take courses and participate in internships that seek to connect historical social movements with present-day issues.

In their interview with May, the Winns discussed the ways they have tried to continue momentum from that program by inviting guests — dubbed practitioners-in-residence — with ties to the Sacramento community, like school principals, the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for a community theater, an event planner and more.

“That's quite a lineup,” May responded. “I hope I get a chance to meet some of them as well.”

Maisha Winn and Torry Winn talk with Chancellor Gary S. May outside the recording studio.
Maisha Winn and Torry Winn talk with Chancellor Gary S. May outside the recording studio. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Maisha Winn said the practitioners fit into the center’s theme for the academic year, “Sacramento Futures.”

They also hope to get more students interested in the past, specifically in the history of Independent Black Institutions of the 1960s and ’70s, which were “Black parents’ response to unequal or unfair educational experiences in K-12 public schools,” Maisha Winn said.

The Transformative Justice in Education Center is home to an archive with information on those organizations, including papers that belonged to Maisha Winn’s father, who helped found an African-centered Saturday school in Oak Park.

May said just as UC Davis’ response to COVID-19, like its work with Healthy Davis Together, has done a lot to change the way people think about the university and its relationship with the community in Davis, Aggie Square and its related activities could do the same thing in Sacramento.

The full episode is available above.

More episodes to watch

This is the ninth episode of Face to Face With Chancellor May, and all of the preceding episodes are available to watch. The guests on those episodes were:

  • Orly Clerge, a faculty member studying how suburbs change when Black residents “infuse their identity, their politics, their economic rationales into the overall structure of these places.”
  • Akshita Gandra, a senior majoring in cognitive science who founded The Revival Zine, an online publication focused on giving a voice to college students from around the country writing about feminism and social justice.
  • Theanne Griffith, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine, who is also a children’s book author.
  • Jennifer Gross, the head coach of the women’s basketball team.
  • Richard Michelmore, director of the UC Davis Genome Center of the architect of the university’s rapid on-campus COVID-19 testing.
  • Mahiri Moore Jr., a student with his own nonprofit organization focused on engaging Black and Latinx youths.
  • Santana Diaz, the executive chef for UC Davis Health who has pushed the hospital to focus on high-quality, local ingredients.
  • Vanessa and Victoria Liera, undergraduate students working to encourage and support women studying electrical engineering.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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